Coming up with honest-to-goodness ‘read-a-likes’ for Black Hole was difficult for me as I’ve never read anything really like it, and I don’t know anything about the surrealist genre, or being a teen in the 70’s, or being infected with, well…whatever.
However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t try. So with that caveat in mind. Here are two things that I came across which tread at least similar waters:
Perfect Example by John Porcellino
Graphic Novel about a teen trying to figure out the world, and his place in it, during the summer of 1986, before going off to college. For John, friends, girls, and even Heavy Metal don’t seem to be what they once were. He’s just sad all the time. The message seems to be about the realization that you are no longer a child, but not yet an adult either, and you don’t know what to do about it. Pocellino’s ‘school notebook doodle’ artwork style puctuates the desire to want to simplify the world at that age, but finding out that it’s not that easy.
The Ice Storm by Rick Moody
It’s Thanksgiving weekend 1973 in the ex-urbs of Connecticut, just a train ride away from New York City. The Hood family are your guides through the pre-disco, Nixonian era, with American involvement in Vietnam ending, and suburban excess and cynicism destroying the memory of the idealisitc 60’s. While Benjamin Hood is paying frequent visits to his neighbor Janey, and Stepford wife Elena devours self-help books, son Paul heads to NYC in an attempt to win the heart of the out-of-his-league girl from school, and daughter Wendy gets into the bottles, and pants, of her neighbors.
Did I mention the massive early winter ice storm that paralyzes the area?
A very well done film adaptation was released in 1997 staring Kevin Kline (Benjamin), Joan Allen (Elena), Christina Ricci (Wendy), Sigourney Weaver (Janey), and a pre-Peter Paker Tobey Maguire (Paul). There’s also appearances by a pre-Frodo Elijah Wood, and a pre-everything Katie Holmes.
It really is a good film – even with the Nixon mask make-out scene.